Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Intelligent Design and the Laws of Nature

"Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared-the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age....

Theology says to you in effect, 'Admit God and with him the risk of a few miracles, and I in turn will ratify your faith in uniformity as regards the overwhelming majority of events.' The philosophy which forbids you to make uniformity absolute is also the philosophy which offers you solid grounds for believing it to be general, to be almost absolute. The Being who threatens nature's claim to omnipotence confirms her in her lawful occasions. Give us this ha' porth of tar and we will save the ship. The alternative is really much worse. Try to make nature absolute and you find that her uniformity is not even probable . . . You get the deadlock as in Hume. Theology offers you a working arrangement, which leaves the scientist free to continue his experiments and the Christian to continue his prayers."

--C.S. Lewis, Miracles

The philosophy which allows for God's involvement in nature, and therefore that nature is not autonomous, is also the philosophy which allows God to be the provider of her laws, and therefore our trust that she is trustworthy. "The Being who threatens nature's claim to omnipotence confirms her in her lawful occassions." This is very profound insight by Lewis.I can see no ultimate reason why we should consider nature's laws, apart from a Legislator, to be always obeying laws that we can observe. On the hypothesis that she was once a singularity, and now, she isn't anything like that, why should we consider observation over time to be ultimately trusted? If there were conscious beings inside the singularity, operating under the assumption that the conditions they had found themselves in would continue uninterrupted, and of which conclusion would have been based only on the strength of collective observations over time, the explosion would certainly have ruined their trust in the uniformity of nature. In admitting God as her Legislator, we can trust in her laws, and that they actually are "laws" and not a collection of occurences which may be otherwise in time.

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